Santa Cruz Chinautla’s right to water violated by garbage dump, large-scale sand extraction

Published by Brent Patterson on

Photo caption: “In what kind of country are the rivers killed off in the middle of a water crisis?”

On January 23, the Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project shared a Facebook post from Herbert Reyes that notes, “The population of Santa Cruz Chinautla (municipality of the department of Guatemala, capital) is committed to the fight to improve their environmental conditions dramatically degraded by poor planning in the management of solid waste from the landfill in zone 3, which accumulates waste from the capital city, Chinautla, Santa Catarina Pinula and Mixco.”

That post adds, “The drains of these municipalities, with the exception of Santa Catarina Pinula, pass through this community, contaminating the ecosystem of the lower river basin: Chinautla, Las Vacas, Los Plátanos and finally the Motagua.”

Santa Cruz Chinautla is situated about 13 kilometres north of zone 3, downriver from Guatemala City’s largest landfill.

EFE has reported that about 500 tons of garbage are deposited daily in that landfill.

That article highlights that a study by the ecological organization Madre Selva says that the first 127 kilometres of the Las Vacas River are polluted mainly by plastic materials.”

It is the Las Vacas River that runs through Chinautla.

PBI-Guatemala has explained that the problem increases during the rainy season.

Is also impacted by the large-scale extraction of sand/gravel/clay by heavy machinery.

In May 2019, La Hora reported, “Santa Cruz Chinautla residents blocked kilometer 7 of the old route to Santa Cruz Chinautla, due to the contamination and burial of the ‘El Borboyón’ water source, which has been affected by the gravel that trucks launch, according to them, without major controls on the municipality of that municipality.”

That extraction has “contaminated the birth of drinking water that supplies to the population of Santa Cruz Chinautla”.

PDH (Procuraduría de los Derechos Humanos) adds, “Residents of Santa Cruz Chinautla blocked the main road, protesting the lack of drinking water and pollution of the Chinautla River and a birth (nacimiento), which is on private property.”

The Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project has accompanied the Chinautla Multisector Urban Platform since December 2018.

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